Young girl looking at the pavement

Parental burnout

When it comes to burnout, individuals often associate it with the workplace, but it also exists in the parenting role and even in relationships.

But what is burnout? When individuals experience long-term stress that leads to mental, emotional or physical exhaustion. What characterizes burnout among parents in this context is when life can become overwhelming due to long-term fatigue because of constantly meeting the demands of the child/children (spouse).

Research from 2019 found that parents who experience burnout are at risk of disconnecting from the child. The parent can easily start to associates the distress & the negative feelings to the child.  This can have serious consequences for the parent-child relationship. Furthermore, a parent begins to doubt himself as a good parent, which further increases the parents’ distress. More homes today consist of both parents working compared to before, this can increase the strain on parents. In addition, there has been a significant increase in single parents compared to before. The work and other duties start to compete with the child´s attention.

It should be noted that there is no such thing as a perfect parent, and trying to do so can also cause stress, anxiety or exhaustion.

Studies have found it difficult to find gender differences, but because men generally score slightly higher than women on a self-compassion scale, women might be more vulnerable. One study showed that working mothers are in a special risk group of experiencing burnout.

Research has shown that what might be the biggest risk factor of parental burnout is neglection. Neglections towards yourself. Many new-born parents find it difficult to leave their child/ren, and this can become a habit. However, it is, in fact, better for the parent and the child if the parent can have some rest and do something also without the child. Something that can recharge the batteries can also act as a preventative.

Parents must be careful not to neglect themselves and their interests. The social part is very important. One of the first things people want to put on hold when they experience stress is social life. That is very unfortunate because social life is often accompanied by your time & joy plus the laughter can release some happy hormones that is good for everyone.

It is important that parents are aware of taking good care of themselves. If you are a parent who is experiencing fatigue or exhaustion, then it may be a good time to seek help, whether it is from friends, relatives or professionals.

In this article, I mainly addressed parental burnout, but would also like to draw attention to the possibility of linking the burnout definition to your relationship with your spouse. Whatever it is, it is important to be aware and nurture yourself 

Picture by:  Snæþór Sigurbjörn Halldórsson


Mindfulness at work can prevent work stress & anxiety

Today, when work stress on the rise, it is quite important that individuals are able to use some tools as preventative. The separation between home and work is far less today than before due to all this technology & flexible work hours. This can add more strain to everyday life as you are never quite sure when you are at work and when you are not.

Mindfulness can reduce stress, depression & anxiety and furthermore work as preventative. In addition, it doesn’t take too much of your time on a busy day. You can even use it at the workplace itself without a huge cost.

 Here are some different exercises that you can start with to become more present and thereby reduce stress:

 1)        Being here and now. You can start your workday with the goal of being totally present. For example, if your work requires that you document something, try to devote your entire attention to that documentation. If some thoughts come up (for example, remembering to reply to an email), you can imagine that the thought is like a car passing by quietly. You do not have to respond to the thought because you are being present in the documentation right at that moment.

 2) Stop multitasking and start single-tasking. Many individuals multitask and feel that they are more productive when they do. Unfortunately, research has shown that the brain has difficulty constantly shifting focus to new tasks. Try to do one thing at a time and do that thing properly and then start the next one. This point is very much related to point 1.

 3) Active listening. When talking to a colleague for any reason, try to practice listening actively to that person. Use all your senses to listen and notice how that person is talking and feeling. Use your curiosity and openness without judging.

 4) Focus on your breathing. If you feel stressed or overwhelmed, try shifting your focus to your breathing. If your mind is racing and you are having a hard time quieting the mind, try saying to yourself “now I am here”. When you focus on breathing, here and now, your mind cannot be focusing on all the other tasks that you should be doing. Most stress thoughts have to do with the past or the future and if you are present you cannot be in the past or the future.

On that note, I want to mention some benefits of being more Mindful in the workplace:

– Better communication

– Positivity

– More productive

– Better management and stronger teams

– More robustness

– More confident about change

– More creativity

– Better in making decisions

– Less stress

Start practicing today to be as present as possible. Remember that it takes time for the brain to quiet the mind and being present. Don´t give up. Only 10 minutes a day can reduce stress & anger and in addition effects joy and motivation.

However, if you are already experiencing severe physical & mental symptoms of work stress/burnout I advise you to seek help. The sooner the better.

 Picture by Snæþór Sigurbjörn Halldórsson

Divorce is hard. Dark siluets of a man and woman in sunset, clearly in argument.

Divorce is hard

Divorce is so much more than the word indicates. Divorce is one of the biggest stressors that can arise in the lives of individuals, and the sorrow process is often a side effect as well.

Apart from grieving the spouse, there is also grief about the future & future plans that have been made. Feelings like shame, anger, and regret are very common emotions that can be very unconstructive. Those emotions accompany the sorrow process as well. Anger over being abandoned by their spouse, regret over past events & shame that the spouse has decided to leave.

Marriage is a unit or team that makes plans for the future and is always working towards some common goals, whether it is child upbringing, taking care of the household or planning the next holiday.

Individuals often feel like they have to start all over again. If individuals have to move as well, it adds more strain. If a child or children are also involved it is an inevitable extra stress factor.

Studies have shown that between 30% and 40% of individuals that go through a divorce experience anxiety or depression. Divorce involves so many major uncertainties concerning not only the future but also the present. This often leads to fears that develop into anxiety.

It is so important that family and friends show support. Instead of wondering about why, individuals who are going through a divorce need assistance, & care. It is tempting to go over all the possible reasons why a divorce is taking place, but it may not be the best time for those who are in the middle of the divorce process. Being there for your friends or family has the most value for those who are going through a divorce.

Divorce should be taken very seriously. It causes a great deal of emotional stress that needs to be dealt with, in one way or another. Stress, anxiety, or depression can have serious consequences if ignored.

For those who are going through a divorce, I recommend seeking help, either from relatives, friends or professionals. If you know that your friend or family member is going through a divorce I encourage you to be there for that person.

Picture by Eric Ward 




ADD, what can you do yourself ?

I want to thank for all the positive feedback I got for my previous article about ADD. Furthermore, did I receive a couple of questions. I will try to answer the two most common questions here. What to do if you suspect that your child has ADD & and what can individuals themselves do that don’t want to take medicine.

If a child is suspected to have ADD then the child is likely to be in primary school. Since the symptoms are most often visible in the school. It would be a good start to have a chat with the child’s teacher as he spends considerable time with the child in exactly those situations that require a lot of attention & focus.

The school’s staff should know what the next steps are regarding a diagnosis if there is a strong suspicion that the child has symptoms of ADD.

Adults who have been diagnosed with ADD and do not tolerate well the medicine due to the side effects can do many things themselves.

Regular exercise and a healthy diet are some of the things that can affect focus & mental clarity. A regular and good night’s sleep is no less important. This, of course, applies to both children and adults. Sugary foods do not have a good effect on your blood sugar level and your concentration may fluctuate accordingly. Research has supported the importance of breakfast for example, children who eat regular breakfast (diagnosis or non-diagnosis) perform better in school than the group who did not eat breakfast.

Dietary supplement, where to start?

Omega 3 fatty acids from e.g. fish oil or linseed oil have a very positive effect on mental health and the brain in general. My friend had said that her child’s teacher had seen a difference in the child’s concentration after she began giving the child omega 3 for children.

In addition, have I heard very positive things about Happy Calm Focus. You can read reviews here on Amazon:

However, it is not intended for young children.

Finally, I would like to point out that stress never helps. Stress always worsens symptoms, no matter what form these symptoms are. This applies to chronic pain, ADD, ADHD, OCD, anxiety and so on. Try to avoid stress as much as possible because long-term stress alone has a negative effect on short-term memory.

I can’t end this article without mentioning Mindfulness for all ages. Research is showing that Mindfulness can significantly reduce the symptoms of ADD & ADHD. Well, everything above can be applied to ADHD as well.

I hope you can benefit from this article.

Picture by Snæþór Sigurbjörn Halldórsson

How to reduce anxiety & restlessness and establish better focus & higher self-control with just glucose

A good portion of self-control is considered to be a major advantage in many areas of life, as in relationships, in learning, in maintaining good mental health, and in terms of adaptability, to name a few. Self-control has therefore many categories like attention control (concentration) can be one part of self-control as an example.

In addition, self-control is something that can be trained and influenced by a good diet. Research has, among other things, indicated that as early as the age of 4, self-control among children begins to develop & grow stronger.

Many studies have shown that a lack of self-control is to some extent based on poor energy sources. Since the main elements of good self-control are glucose, which is the substance that the body produces by breaking down carbohydrates from food (for example). Glucose provides a lot of our brain function and that includes self-control.

I have a good example that probably most moms & probably dads can relate to, its from one of my dear friends.  A mom for the first time and at that time when I was visiting her, she had a very sleepless night cause of her son. Well, the first thing she did when she woke up was eating leftover cake she had from the day before. Let me tell you, my friend is not the type who eats a cake for breakfast and, in my opinion, has a rather high level of self-control when it comes to food & drinks. This was just such a good example of how our self-control can almost none exist with reduced energy.

One study looked at a group of school kids who ate breakfast vs. those who did not. School kids who ate breakfast had a better concentration at school vs. the other group who skipped breakfast. Breakfast is such a good source of glucose. In addition, hungry children are more likely to behave in a restless manner and be agitated.

If my son comes home from school and is crying for almost no reason, the first thing I do is check his lunch box. In 90% cases, the launch box is almost full, indicating that he has eaten so little during the day.

Support has also been found that when glucose is low, individuals are more likely to experience anxiety, restlessness, and tension, for example.

With that said, one of my friends decided to just eat 1200 calories a day (diet number 100) and then she is always complaining to me that her concentration is so bad. There is no doubt that her blood sugar levels are falling dramatically and there goes her concentration as well.

This article is based on the article by Galliot & Baumeister: The Physiology of Willpower: Linking Blood Glucose to Self-Control & my dear friends. 

Picture by : Snæþór Sigurbjörn Halldórsson

Attention deficit disorder, what to look for?

In this article, I would like to draw attention to ADD. ADD is not the same as ADHD, which most people associate with hyperactivity. Individuals can have attention deficit disorder without being hyperactive, and it is very likely that many people have ADD without knowing it.

ADD is, as I said, an attention deficit disorder without hyperactivity. The symptoms can vary for each individual but I will list out common ones here among children.

Typical phrases I associate with ADD are:

“I can´t remember anything”

“I have trouble remembering things”

“I just have such a poor memory”

Of course, children do not remember everything, rather than us the adult people. But if these are common phrases then I look for other symbols e.g. difficulties with a sense of time. For example, it may appear as recurring questions about when an event is.

Other symptoms include procrastination. Does the child delay get started on a task? When the child finally starts, is it difficult for the child to finish the task and stay focused?  

Are you a parent who has repeatedly heard during parent meetings that “he/she can do much more than he/she does”?

Is school challenging because the homework gets “lost” or the child does not “remember” what the homework was about?

Does the child have difficulties with organization of events or things?

Does the child often make mistakes when doing a task, even a light task that you know it can handle?

Is the child often distracted? Or do you as a parent feel that your child is not listening to you? Because the child is distracted?

If you, as a parent, recognize many of these symptoms, I recommend that you explore the possibility of ADD further.

Several individuals with ADD often experience conflicts due to some of these symptoms like procrastination or being late. This can create frustrations for parents, teachers or friends because it can be interpreted as a lack of interest.

Individuals with ADD do have their share of challenges within the school system & often fail to complete their studies. Therefore, it can be difficult for those individuals to find their path in life leading to anxiety, stress or even depression.

Just by exploring the options & being open for a diagnose can transform the lives of children with ADD and not only them but also the parents as they develop a deeper understanding of their child.  The brain of individuals with ADD works differently in receiving information & therefore it leads to struggles.

I hope this article will raise awareness for parents & not only parents but individuals with ADD that potentially don’t know about it.

Just being aware of it can make a huge difference for the quality of life of individuals with ADD.

Picture by: Mads Christensen